Cardiff 2-3 Crystal Palace: Bluebirds relegated from Premier League to Championship
Highlights and report as Brighton survive drop with two games to play
Last Updated: 04/05/19 10:05pm
Cardiff's relegation from the Premier League has been confirmed after Neil Warnock's side lost 3-2 to Crystal Palace.
It was a game filled with drama as Wilfried Zaha put Crystal Palace ahead in the 28th minute, only for a Martin Kelly own goal (31) to level things up not long after.
The visitors retook the lead through Michy Batshuayi (39) just before the break before Andros Townsend (70) added a third via the post.
Cardiff had numerous second-half chances but could only find the net once more as Bobby Reid scored a 90th-minute consolation.
The Bluebirds will now drop into the Sky Bet Championship next season while Brighton's survival has been confirmed ahead of their game against Arsenal on Renault Super Sunday.
How brave Cardiff were relegated
It was a bizarre opening for Cardiff. Josh Murphy hammered an effort against the post inside two minutes before their top scorer Victor Camarasa took a heavy knock and, despite trying to soldier on, he was unable to continue. He was replaced by Leandro Bacuna in the 11th minute.
Cardiff: Etheridge (6), Peltier (6), Morrison (7), Ecuele Manga (7), Bennett (6), Mendez-Laing (7), Gunnarsson (7), Camarasa (n/a), Murphy (7), Reid (7), D Ward (6).
Subs used: Bacuna (6), Zohore (6), Hoilett (6).
Crystal Palace: Guaita (7), Wan-Bissaka (7), Dann (7), Kelly (7), J Ward (7), Milivojevic (7), McArthur (7), Townsend (7), Zaha (8), Ayew (6), Batshuyai (7).
Subs used: Sako (5), Meyer (4), Kouyate (n/a).
Man of the match: Wilfried Zaha.
Crystal Palace scored their opener in the 28th minute. It was Zaha who started the move too, slipping the ball to Townsend down the left before receiving it back at the top of the area. He shifted it between his feet before firing into the bottom corner.
Despair turned into hope for Cardiff three minutes later when a lack of communication between Kelly and Vicente Guaita saw them back level. Bacuna strode down the right before putting an inviting ball into the area, aiming for Danny Ward. But with the Crystal Palace goalkeeper well off his line, Kelly saw the cross nick off his foot and roll into the back of an open net.
- Cardiff made three changes from last weekend. Leandro Bacuna, Junior Hoilett and Oumar Niasse dropped out and were replaced by Josh Murphy, Bobby Reid and Danny Ward.
- Crystal Palace made four changes with Patrick van Aanholt, Cheikhou Kouyate, Max Meyer and Christian Benteke (injured) dropping out and Joel Ward, Andros Townsend, Jordan Ayew and Mitchy Batshuyai coming in.
But the scores did not remain level for long as Crystal Palace went back ahead in the 39th minute with a well-worked goal. Zaha drove down the left, terrorising Lee Peltier once again, before popping the ball back for Luka Milivojevic. He in turn picked out Batshuayi, who played a neat one-two with Jordan Ayew in the area - with the ball hitting the legs of Bruno Ecuele Manga on the way through - before firing home.
Cardiff saw a number of chances fall their way at the start of the second half. Nathaniel Mendez-Laing whipped a sensational cross towards the back post in the 56th minute, but Murphy could not get his effort on target and sent it agonisingly wide of the post.
Kelly then made two huge blocks for Crystal Palace. He threw his body in front of a stinging Murphy effort in the 63rd minute before putting a loose Guaita save behind for a corner after Kenneth Zohore tried to send the ball around the goalkeeper.
The visitors withstood the pressure well, though, and added a third in the 70th minute, ultimately breaking Cardiff hearts. It was a wonderful solo run from Townsend which Joe Bennett could not stop, with his fierce drive from the top of the area bouncing into the back of the net via the post
Cardiff's bad luck continued as they had an effort cleared off the line before hitting the upright themselves in the final 15 minutes. The first incident saw James McArthur hack a Mendez-Laing effort away on the goal-line before the winger had another strike pushed onto the crossbar by Guaita.
The hosts nabbed a deserved consolation bang on the 90-minute mark with a wonderful strike from Reid, who darted across the top of the area before curling home. But Cardiff could not find another goal to keep their Premier League place alive as their relegation was confirmed.
- Cardiff City have been relegated from the Premier League, becoming the only team to play in more than one Premier League season and be relegated in every single one (also relegated in 2013-14).
- Crystal Palace have won 29 away Premier League points this season (W9 D2 L8) - only Man City, Liverpool and Spurs have won more.
- Neil Warnock has suffered his third top-flight relegation, going down with three different teams in three different decades - Notts County in 1991-92, Sheffield United in 2006-07 and Cardiff City in 2018-19.
- Crystal Palace striker Michy Batshuayi has ended on the winning side in all eight Premier League games in which he's found the net; only Daniel Agger (9) and Chris Smalling (11) have scored in more games with a 100% record.
- Only Jamie Vardy (10) and Harry Kane (11) have scored more away Premier League goals this season than Crystal Palace winger Wilfried Zaha (9).
- Crystal Palace defender Martin Kelly has scored each of their last two own-goals in the Premier League, scoring one today and against Chelsea in March 2018.
Neil Warnock: "Everybody is disappointed when you suffer a relegation. It would be wrong not to feel like that, if you're not hurt, but I can't really be much prouder. The lads put a lot of effort in but you can see the limitations there.
"Their front four were just too good for us really, but we created so many chances in the second half. That's the story of the Premier League and you've got to take chances like that and we haven't really had a goalscorer this year so it's been a disappointment.
"As daft as it sounds, this season has probably been the best year I've ever had in management, I'm quite proud of what we've achieved and we got relegated. It is a difficult thing to digest but that's how I feel."
Roy Hodgson: "It was a clinical performance. There were moments of extremely good play as well but it was an exciting game because although I thought we spurned quite a few chances, Cardiff were never out of it and there was always that risk that they were going to get a strike away and score a goal as we saw right at the end of the game.
"When you play these games, you know you're playing a team that is going to be fighting to the death and Cardiff have fought very hard in every game throughout the season. In this game where they definitely need to win to have any chance of staying up, we knew they would be giving us nothing and we would have to fight and work hard for every opportunity that would come our way and I must congratulate the players on doing that."
Man of the match - Wilfried Zaha
It was a wonderful performance from Zaha, particularly in the first half, and was he driving force behind Crystal Palace's goals. He scored the opener after starting off the move and was also involved in the build-up to the second.
He was quieter in the second period as Cardiff pushed for the goals that would keep them in the league but still popped up on the break, from which Palace always looked dangerous.
There is just one more Premier League game to go this season. Cardiff travel to Manchester United next Sunday while Crystal Palace sign off with a home game against Bournemouth.